Whether you are looking for a warming roast to fight off the last of the lingering winter chill, or the perfect venue to get you in the right mood for the start of a new week, Islington offers up plenty of inspiration for Sunday lunch. Here are 14 of our favourites in the area
We start by actually heading up Pentonville Road from Angel to the flourishing King’s Cross. Restaurants seem to be opening on a weekly basis here, but Plum + Spilt Milk – a part of the wonderful Great Northern Hotel – set the benchmark for what followed. The setting is fabulous first up, but we’ve been a few times and not had a bad experience yet. It’s perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, with a great three course menu. Here’s what we had last time out: Marinated beets, figs, Shropshire Blue and walnuts; Crispy roasted Suffolk pork belly, pickled red cabbage, apple and mustard chutney; Iced peanut and salted caramel mousse. Sounds good, doesn’t it.
Pancras Road N1C 4TB; 020 3388 0818; plumandspiltmilk.com
2 The Old Queens Head
This Essex Road institution may now be home to Lucky Chip burgers – and mighty fine they are too – but don’t forget about the fab roasts you can enjoy whilst settled into one of the Chesterfield leather sofas. The menu is short and sweet, but all mains come with the full complement of trimmings, and we can’t big up their Oreo ice cream enough to finish off. Oh, and if you do fancy a burger, you can order one of those too.
44 Essex Road N1 8LN; 020 7354 9993; theoldqueenshead.com
3 The Canonbury
Recently relaunched after a lick of paint, their food was always good and seems to have gone up a notch too. The Sunday restaurant menu, in particular, is a stand out, from your typical roasts (done very well), to the more eclectic offerings like Quinoa, artichoke and tomato salad (for those trying to be good after a heavy weekend) to the Truffled celeriac gratin with green apple, pied de bleu and fried duck egg. Great beer garden, too, for when the weather takes a turn for the better.
21 Canonbury Place N1 2NS; 020 7704 2887; thecanonbury.co.uk
4 The Marquess Tavern
When we visited recently for a midweek meal, we couldn’t believe the wide mix on The Marquess Tavern‘s and took great delight in mixing and matching sides with our mains. Their Sunday lunch menu may be more concise (although you can still order from the fabulous full menu), but the outcome is just as good. Like your Yorkshire puds? Well wait until you try their 28 day cured Yorkshire sirloin of beef, served up in a giant Yorkshire that covers the whole of the plate. No idea where you put the spring greens, savoy cabbage, garden peas, baby carrots, yellow courgettes and roast potatoes that come on the side.
32 Canonbury Street N1 2TB; 020 7359 4615; themarquessn1.co.uk
5 The Bull
At one point, The Resident team spent many a lunch hour at The Bull and no surprise: you’ll feel at home with its traditional pub ambience, but one that has a touch of cool design. Picnic bench style tables are placed alongside open windows to make the most of any good weather. They serve no fewer than 23 specialty beers, lagers and ciders to complement your Sunday lunch. Sunday newspapers, Bloody Marys and home-cooked roasts are also a traditional favourite at The Bull, with the menu featuring roasts of beef, pork and chicken paired with delicious sides like roast winter vegetables.
100 Upper Street N1 0NP; 020 7354 9174; thebullislington.co.uk
Foxlow’s industrial feel with diner style booths and leather chairs make dining here a fun experience. Their Sunday roast of Longhorn beef rump served with roast potatoes, greens and bacon, roast carrots, parsnips and cauliflower cheese is perfection, but don’t miss out on their regular menu. Also worth a mention is their brunch menu, which serves up unlikely treats. Fried chicken and egg, croissant waffle, and breakfast burgers are for those looking for something fun to eat to replace the classic Sunday roast. Their fun cocktail menu features exciting drinks with names like Miami Dolphin and Smokestack Mary. Look out for their new Stoke Newington opening in the near future.
69-73 St John Street EC1M 4AN; 020 7014 8070; foxlow.com
7 The Albion
The Albion, a Georgian gem, provides the perfect atmosphere for a Sunday roast, complete with log fires. With its wisteria covered façade and classic dining room inside, the setting complements the dishes perfectly. Their Sunday lunch menu features plenty of starters, mains and puddings, and for anyone looking for a real roast experience, they offer a whole suckling pig with all the trimmings that feeds up to 15 people (has to be seen to be believed). They carry a wide selection of beers and their wine list has been selected by one of the country’s leading wine experts to perfectly match the food. The whole experience will have you feeling satisfied and right at home.
10 Thornhill Road N1 1HW; 020 7607 7450; the-albion.co.uk
8 The Pig & Butcher
It might look like your average pub from the outside, but to this day we will never forget our first meal at The Pig & Butcher and how it blew us away. With ingredients locally sourced from around the UK, The Pig & Butcher grills in the summer and brines, cures, smokes, and braises in the winter to create the perfect roasts for any season. The menus are created on a daily basis to always offer something unique and special, which includes roasts of Special Reserve chicken, Windsor pork shoulder, Saltmarsh lamb, and Hereford sirloin. Considering the name, we shouldn’t have been surprised with the quality found here.
80 Liverpool Road N1 0QD; 020 7226 8304; thepigandbutcher.co.uk
9 Duke of Cambridge
It may have the look and feel of a classic British pub, but it is in fact Britain’s first and only organic pub. The Duke of Cambridge recently teamed up with Riverford Organic farms, known for its organic approach to creating dishes with impeccable ingredients directly from the farm. Fruits and vegetables are the stars here, with meat and fish complementing the dishes. Their menu changes by season to ensure that the freshest, highest quality ingredients will be used. And drinks? They feature organic wines, brewed from independent breweries, and soft drinks with natural ingredients.
30 St Peter’s Street N1 8ST; 020 7359 3066; dukeorganic.co.uk
Owned by the same wonderful people behind The Pig & Butcher, Smokehouse restaurant has a simple garden feel with wooden tables and pots of herbs and flowers, and outside garden furniture surrounded by trees. It is all about the food here: its delicious a la carte menu includes piggy nuggets & kimchi, slow smoked Elwy Valley lamb shoulder, and tiramisu cannoli. Plenty more unique dishes are offered that are not fixtures in your average Sunday roast menu. Their wine and beer list features small family owned companies to go along with the ethos of Smokehouse. No wonder they are opening a new restaurant in Chiswick.
63-69 Canonbury Road N1 2DG; 020 7354 1144; smokehouseislington.co.uk
11 The Drapers Arms
The Drapers Arms, a neighbourhood pub in Islington with a green hued exterior and chequerboard floors and chandeliers inside, features plenty of delicious food on their packed Sunday lunch menu. It changes daily according to what is in season to ensure the best tasting food. Rabbit legs, guinea fowl, and lamb kidneys are among the special dishes offered alongside the list of roasted chickens, beefs and porks. Pair these with their tasty vegetable sides and rich desserts, and don’t forget the extensive list of carefully selected wines and ales.
44 Barnsbury Street N1 1ER; 020 7619 0348; thedrapersarms.com
Zilouf’s, a fixture of Upper Street, is designed to bring a bit of funk to Islington. Its unique decorations, heated outdoor seating, relaxed dining, and retractable bar windows are only a few things that make coming to Zilouf’s for Sunday lunch a fun, relaxing experience. Their Sunday roast menu features delicious dry-aged roasted rib of beef, roast pork belly, confit duck leg, and a chef’s nut roast to have you feeling full. Check out their cocktail bar, which features fun drinks like honey and ginger mojitos, or a grapefruit and lychee collins to go alongside your meal.
270 Upper Street N1 2NQ; 020 7226 1118; ziloufs.com
It may have pub vibes and stained glass windows and chandeliers, but LeCoq is known for its rotisserie. On Sundays, LeCoq not only offers their famous rotisserie chicken, but also rotisserie octopus – yes, octopus – pork belly, and beef short ribs for a lunch that’s different from other roast meals. Their menu changes daily to highlight what is in season and they offer set course menus with starters like falafels with carrot and cashew slaw, and dessert treats like treacle tart with crème fraiche, to go with any rotisserie you choose. In case you are wondering and haven’t ventured here before, their chicken is indeed fantastic.
292-294 St Paul’s Road N1 2QH; 020 7359 5055; le-coq.co.uk
With its funky interior and beautifully designed dishes, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen has long been a real favourite of ours – and now they have gone and launched Sunday lunch. The menu is filled with roasts and tasty nibbles, with all of their roasts served with crispy duck-fat potatoes, seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. If that’s not enough, their sides include such delights as potato cakes, cauliflower cheese, and salmon or short ribs starters, all sure to make any Sunday better.
15 Westland Place N1 7LP; 020 3375 1515; fifteen.net
Words: Dani Segelbaum / Mark Kebble